Earth Day, a national holiday that comes with promises of warmer weather and sunnier days, also brings people a reminder to care for the environment and be cautious of the ways they can impact it.
As the ice and snow melt from this past winter, patches of green start to appear as does discarded trash on the side of our roads. In efforts to keep roadways clean and animals safe from harm, people across the country invest their time, money and effort into various activities that will work to preserve a fresher environment.
At Keene State College (KSC), student organizations such as the Environmental Outing Club and the Campus Ecology, participate in activities year round to clean up the campus and city environment. Campus Ecology states their mission is “to establish environmentally sound practices on campus by promoting leadership, awareness and action.” William Fleeger, the club faculty adviser, could not respond back in time for an interview.
Last Sunday, April 23, KSC hosted their annual Green Up Keene event, where Keene students and residents participated in picking up litter and trash.
The Coordinator of Student and Community Relations Robin Picard, who helped coordinate the Green Up Keene event, stated nine groups and 51 additional individuals voluntarily participated in the event to clean up the city of Keene. Some student organizations that volunteered this year include the Pre-Med Club, SAC, and Delta Phi Epsilon.
Picard admitted that the constant rescheduling was a problem this year and participation wasn’t up to it’s usual standard. “Usually we have 110 participants and 15 groups volunteering… The rescheduling might have hurt us a bit this year,” she said.
Administrative Assistant Andrea Nowlan for the Keene Public Works Department, stated the total weight of trash collected is not recorded yet, since groups are still sending in information concerning how much trash they collected and the areas they cleaned up in.
According to the data the Public Works Department collected so far, Keene public organizations such as Citizen Keene, Keene Elm City Rotary, the Southeast Keene Neighborhood and Keene Kiwanis club all volunteered in picking up litter throughout the city.
The Public Works Department also reported that among the 51 KSC students that volunteered, they collected 100 pounds of trash.
KSC student Sally Densmore said although she couldn’t participate this past weekend for Earth Day, she does little things on a day to day basis to care for the environment. “I recycle, save electricity by turning the lights off, and take quicker showers… just little things anybody can do that makes a big difference,” she said.
Additionally, studies show that over time consumers have been directing their attention to environmentally friendly businesses. In an article by Ethical Consumer they reported, 50 percent of consumers surveyed have avoided products based on a company’s poor reputation for negatively impacting the environment. They state it’s common for businesses to put their environmentally conservative views on display. “It’s more noticeable than ever that organizations large and small have started using their environmental practices as a marketing tool so, from supermarkets to your local coffee shop, there are green claims everywhere,” the article read.
KSC first-year Ashley Arnold, said she noticed that more businesses are displaying their efforts to be eco-friendly. Especially the new Patagonia brand that is trending in the east coast. “I see lots of people wearing their fleeces and jackets. Their ads tell people not to buy things they don’t need to reduce consumption and that they recycle and repair old clothing,” she said. “This probably helps their reputation and makes people feel like their not only buying something, but donating to a good cause,” she added.
Furthermore, the Ethical Consumer reported added, “Boycotts have gone up by 123 [percent] over 2010-2012,” and, “potential customers have been more proactive in ensuring their money goes into the pocket of a seemingly cleaner organisation.”
The Residential Life and Housing office is open for anyone who would like to pick up gloves and a blue trash bag to pick up litter over the week and continue the community’s efforts to make Keene a cleaner and an environmentally responsible place.
Katie Jensen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org